STEW LEONARD'S WINS ZONING OK IN CONNECTICUT
voted to approve a 239,000-square-foot Stew Leonard's retail store, ending a nine-year battle to build a store here, the retailer said. Stew Leonard's, based in Norwalk, Conn., purchased the 44-acre site in 1996, but was denied an initial application to build in 1997. The project encountered community opposition and required an amendment to area zoning regulations and approvals from several state agencies. Stew Leonard's said it plans to open a 145,000-square-foot store, a 40,000-square-foot garden center, an 11,000-square-foot restaurant and a 15,000-square-foot training center at the site. In a statement, the company said it could not give an exact date when it would begin construction, citing an appeal on approval by the Inland-Wetland commission.
QFC TO CLOSE FIVE WASHINGTON STORES
SEATTLE -- Quality Food Centers, the Kroger-owned banner based here, will close five stores in Washington state by the end of the month due to poor sales volume, said Donna Giordano, president of QFC, in a statement last week. The stores are located in Seattle (Ranier Beach), Kent (Midway), Federal Way, Burien and Vancouver, Wash., Giordano said. "The current sales volumes at these stores did not allow product offerings and customer services that best represent QFC," Giordano said. QFC will operate 79 stores in Washington and Oregon after the closings, the company said.
WAKEFERN GIVES SEND-OFF TO OUTGOING CEO
WHIPPANY, N.J. -- Wakefern Corp. paid tribute to its outgoing chairman and chief executive with a two-hour send-off filled with humor and sentimentality at the company's annual meeting here last week. The Elizabeth, N.J.-based cooperative, which is parent of the ShopRite banner, presented Tom Infusino with a sponsored honorary endowment at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in appreciation for his 34 years of service to the supermarket company. Infusino was credited with leading Wakefern through a bitter shareholder battle in the 1970s and with helping maintain ShopRite's position as a market leader in the New York metro area. Infusino welcomed the incoming chairman and CEO, Joseph Colalillo, saying he "has the integrity to lead Wakefern."
WINN-DIXIE REPORTS 6.2% QUARTERLY SALES DECLINE
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores here said identical-store sales were down 6% in the 12 weeks since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a form filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the retailer said it lost $13.4 million on sales of $2.28 billion during its fiscal third quarter that ended April 6 -- Winn-Dixie's first reporting period since declaring bankruptcy protection in February. Sales were down 6.2% from the same period a year ago when Winn-Dixie posted earnings of $610,000. Reduced customer counts, promotional activity by competitors, store conditions and supply chain disruptions related to the Chapter 11 filing contributed to declining identical-store sales, Winn-Dixie said. Gross margin as a percentage of sales dropped to 25.8% from 26.7% a year ago, due to higher shrink. For the 40 weeks that ended April 5, Winn-Dixie posted a loss of $566 million on sales of $7.7 billion. Sales were down 4.8% from the same period in fiscal 2004, when Winn-Dixie lost $77 million on sales of $8.1 billion. Winn Dixie said it recognized $166 million in non-cash charges related to its rejection of 147 leases of dark stores and facilities during the quarter; and that it had borrowed $106.6 million from its $800 million debtor-in-possession credit facility.